The Beginning and the Early Years
The Long Valley First Aid Squad was formed and incorporated on April 19, 1957. Twelve individuals had met and trained for one year prior to this date. Up until this time the Chester Volunteer Fire Company First Aid Squad had provided service. The original membership of the Squad was made up of firemen from the Long Valley Fire Department and other concerned citizens. The initial training of the original members consisted of Standard and Advanced Red Cross Courses which were given at Muhlenberg Hospital and Hunterdon Medical Center. Four of the original members became Red Cross Instructors and it was their responsibility to keep the rest of the Squad up to date with their training.
The Squad began service with a used 1948 Packard ambulance that was purchased from Dover General Hospital. The ambulance was stored in a rented bay at the Long Valley Firehouse. Although firemen were members and headquarters for the Squad was originally located at the firehouse, the Squad was not part of the Fire Company. The Holtz family provided dispatch service for the Squad in the beginning.
The Squad’s initial first aid call was on Sunday, April 30, 1957 at 3:30 AM when a young couple from Pennsylvania crashed into the stone pillars of the original driveway to the “Old Fort.” The driveway and stone pillars, which were situated across from the old Toll House on East Mill Road, have long since been removed.
To raise money for equipment the Squad members held bingo games and other various activities.
In 1959 The Packard was retired and a used 1955 Cadillac from the Madison First Aid Squad was purchased from Worth Motors; then to a 1960 Cadillac which was the first ambulance purchased new by the Squad. In 1966 the Squad became a two-ambulance service with the purchase of another new Cadillac.
Land on East Mill Road was donated to the Squad from the Frome family so that a building could be constructed. In 1969 the modem 2600 square foot, three-bay building was complete and has been the Squad’s headquarters ever since. Much of the work in constructing the building was accomplished utilizing volunteer labor.
In 1970 the 1960 Cadillac was replaced with still another next- Cadillac. In 1977 the Squad grew to three ambulances with the purchase of a modular ambulance on a GMC chassis. In 1979 the 1966 Cadillac was replaced with a used 1974 Cadillac purchased from the Millburn/Short Hills First Aid Squad.
In the early 1970’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training became available. Slowly the old Red Cross Courses were phased out and the EMT has become the standard of training for the Squad.
In 1978 the Squad purchased a “Jaws of Life” unit to enhance its ability to rescue people who were injured in motor vehicle crashes. The Jaws proved to be very useful to the Squad. As the population of the Township grew there were many accidents on the once relatively quiet rural roads.
In 1980 a second modular ambulance replaced the 1970 Cadillac and in 1982 a new van-type ambulance replaced the used 1974 Cadillac. In 1986 the Squad added a fourth vehicle to its fleet when a new modular ambulance was purchased by Squad.
By the mid 1980’s it was clear that a significant portion of the Township’s population was located on Schooley’s Mountain. The Squad entered into an agreement with the Township to construct a sub-station on Schooley’s Mountain. The Squad constructed a three-bay building at 119 Flocktown Road with it’s own funds on land leased from the Township. The sub-station strengthens the Squad’s ability to provide a quick response and outstanding patient care.
In 1988 the 1979 modular ambulance was replaced with a new ambulance. This unit was purchased jointly between the Township and the Squad. By 1989 it was clear that the old 1977 modular ambulance could no longer safely carry the Squad’s rescue equipment. So a 1990 medium-duty rescue truck was purchased from Front Line Emergency Vehicles. Approximately 20 percent of this truck was paid for with Squad funds.
In 1993 the van ambulance was replaced with a Horton modular ambulance. In early 1994 the Squad became one of the first Squads in the state to be equipped with Semi-Automatic Defibrillators on its ambulances. The defibrillators allow for early defibrillation of cardiac arrest patients. Until this time patients couldn’t be defibrillated until they were in the emergency department at the hospital or until a Mobile Intensive Care Unit met the ambulance enroute to the hospital.
In January of 1997 the Squad took delivery of a light-duty rescue truck that was purchased entirely with Squad funds. The light duty rescue truck added off-road capabilities to the Squad’s resources and carries specialized rescue equipment that is needed to cover the town’s diverse needs. In September of 1997 a second Horton was placed into service, replacing the 1988 ambulance.
On September 6, 1997 the Squad held a 40th anniversary celebration at its headquarters on East Mill Road. The event was attended by six of the seven original members along with many other members and friends of the Squad.
The Squad began the new century with plans to expand its headquarters. Planning for growth and changes in training requirements for members prompted the expansion. With a grant from the State of New Jersey and its own funds the building expansion became a reality. The expansion provided an additional vehicle bay, administrative office, and multi-purpose meeting/class room.
In 2000 the Squad moved to electronic patient charting. Toughbook laptops were added to each ambulance to provide for efficient patient documentation.
In 2000 the 1987 Braun was retired and replaced with a Life Line modular ambulance. The 1993 Horton was retired in 2003 and replaced with a Horton. 2005 saw the addition of new Chevrolet Suburban that was outfitted by Odyssey Automotive to facilitate transporting a patient in off-road situations. The 1990 rescue truck was retired and replaced with a new Pierce rescue on a Kenworth Chassis in 2006. The new rescue truck increased the Squad’s extrication and rescue capabilities. In 2007 the 1997 Horton was retired and replaced with a new Horton.
The Squad’s volunteers continue to serve Washington Township with the same enthusiasm and pride as the original seven charter members. In 2013 the 2000 Life Line was replaced with a four-wheel drive Horton ambulance.